Discovering Tomorrow with Mike Marino

Exposed Vocals: So tell us your story. Where did you grow up? What made you decide to become an artist?
I’m a Jersey boy -- I grew up on a small farm  in a rural town in South Jersey – Clarksboro – at least it was rural when I was growin’ up—Small town America affects me & my writing still – I fell in love with music early as a kid because I had an older brother – 8 years older than me who was buying all the great albums of the 60’s  early 70’s when  they were coming out – I ingested all of it – First & foremost for me was The Beatles & the British Invasion stuff but slowly I migrated into the US homegrown blues & then the California sound s of The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, CSN&Y, Gram Parsons  etc. I don’t know if I ever made the “decision” to become an artist – I think it just happens naturally –writing was my release valve as it still is today – I started writing things, poems mostly as a kid & it just morphed into the songwriting naturally when I started playing guitar which didn’t come until later when I was in my late teens.   
Exposed Vocals: Since everyone was a start-up once, can you give any smaller or local bands or artists looking to get gigs and airplay some tips?
Work! It really comes down to staying at it and continuously re-evaluating each skill you need to develop – Most understand the importance of getting your musical chops in order & practicing, rehearsing etc. – The better you are the more opportunities will eventually be available – BUT – the area most young artists forget is “Music Business” is two words – it’s absolutely Music first – but then there is this whole other side that is every bit as much work & time to develop & what’s worse is that part is definitely not as fun as the music part! I spent years compiling information on everything from copyrights to local venues & studios. Early on you have to get out & network & make some contacts that can be of benefit to you later. Hang out at the places you want the gigs at & know the scene...   
Exposed Vocals: Do you ever make mistakes during performances? How do you handle that?
Doesn’t everyone! ☺ Well even the best have a moment once in a while & pros know you laugh it off with your audience & keep on going!! For me a little humor goes a long way to lighten things up -- & that’s better for your audience too – Don’t make them uncomfortable – make them laugh & they’ll love you even more…  
Exposed Vocals: Do you tour? Anything interesting happen on tour that you think our readers would enjoy hearing about?
I’ve not ventured outside my regional area in the Delaware Valley other than an occasional trip up to New York. On one trip to Bethel NY- home of the original Woodstock festival I wound up around a campfire swapping songs all night with members of Dicky Betts Band – Great Southern – Had a blast entertaining the guest at a bed & breakfast till 4am in the morning with Dicky Betts Bass player Pedro Aravelo.
Exposed Vocals: Any planned studio upgrades? What are you working with now?
I just recently put in a Pro Tools system with some good outboard gear & a Neve Pre. My last two albums I did a lot of traveling to record – North Jersey, Pa. etc. – I’m planning a more stripped down Acoustic Project next so I’ll be able to cut more tracks myself before mixing elsewhere.  
Exposed Vocals: How do you find ways to promote your music? What works best for you?
I recently sought out a publicist to help me with that – It’s one of  the most important things to remember when budgeting a project is try to leave money for promotion! The game is much different now than it was even 8 or 10 years ago – I noticed there wasn’t as many places that were easily approachable for Reviews etc. unless you know all the online opportunities – So I decided that’s something I needed help with – Artists unfortunately are reminded that even in the real heyday of the music business more money had to be spent on the albums promotion then the combined coast of recording, mixing, mastering & manufacturing to get the word out.
Exposed Vocals: If you could perform anywhere and with any artists (Dead or Alive) where and who would it be with? Why?
Wow—I can think of some real fantasies!! My first reaction is to go with The Beatles or Clapton - but in keeping with my American roots I’d love to work with Stephan Stills or Neil Young (even though he’s Canadian we’ll let him slide) or perhaps the Singer/Songwriter I personally identify with the most, the beloved Gene Clark of The Byrds. It be really cool to sit down with Gene Clark somewhere in the California hills and write some songs. He was a country boy like me & I think Gene’s writing was among the finest there ever was.       
Exposed Vocals: So, what’s next? Any new upcoming projects that you want to talk about?
Well this last album I just finished “Tomorrow’s Yesterday” was a major undertaking – all together there are 16 people on the album including myself & I recorded both at Forge Recording and Studio 4 in Philadelphia. So my next project I’m looking to scale things down & do a more stripped down Acoustic Singer/Songwriter album. Sometimes less is more & I been more in the mood to really focus on the stories I’m telling & do less production.
Exposed Vocals: If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
Probably visiting a Psychiatrist would have to be pretty high on the list because without music in my life & the ability to Exercise a few demons thru my writing I’d probably go completely nuts! I try to have a little balance in my life so the music stays fun & not too much work but it’s hard to imagine a day going by when I’m not at least thinking about it.   
Exposed Vocals: What should fans look forward to in the next year or so?
I’m busy writing some new material & looking forward to using my own studio to track some decent demos or basic tracks & then I want to get back out and play some of this new original stuff live and break it in a bit before I commit to final recordings.
Exposed Vocals: Any Shout-outs?
I love all the folks I record with whom I learn something new from every day – some of the finest musicians/singers anywhere. My wonderful Restless Souls. – Bluesman Mike Dugan, Nashville greats Jimmy Heffernan & Danny Eyer – Those guys have played stages from The Tonight Show to The Grand Ole Opry – Mike was voted Bluesman of the year by NYC- Show Business News, Bobby Campanell – does my great backing vocals – Bob was Co-Founder of The Shakes with Viny “Mad Dag” Lopez of Springsteen’s E. Street Band many years ago the House Band for the famed Stone Pony & Bob’s vocal is still one of the best male vocals I’ve ever heard. All the players & singers I’ve used have been a joy to work with!